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(L-R) Morgan Aquino, Abbey Meakins, Natasha Rigby, Sam Kerr, Isabella Foletta and Lexie Moreno. Photo: Fotoenzo

Future football funding for fab five

Football West News

Five promising female footballers have been rewarded with the first Football West Female Young Talented Player Scholarships, which encourage players to strive to achieve their potential through Perth Glory’s Westfield W-League training environment.

Football West National Training Centre players Lexie Moreno (Dianella), Abbey Green (Fremantle), Morgan Aquino (Bayswater), Abbey Meakins (Woodlands) and Isabella Foletta (Yokine) have been identified as players of significant talent and are the first recipients of the scholarships.

The quintet will train throughout the W-League season with Perth Glory, gaining invaluable exposure to a professional environment and the club’s elite player group, including Westfield Matildas star Sam Kerr.

The Football West Female Young Talented Player Scholarship will provide financial assistance for the players, who competed in the recently completed Bankwest Women’s State League Premier Division, to cover costs such as kit and travel expenses over summer.

Football West Chief Executive Officer James Curtis said the Female Young Talented Player Scholarships provided important recognition to talented players with the potential of playing in the W-League.

“The coaches and players in the Football West NTC program do a great job and they are certainly producing positive outcomes,” Curtis said. “Training with Glory’s W-League players is a great opportunity that will enhance their prospects of achieving their potential.

“The Football West Female Young Player Scholarships recognise each player’s commitment to improving and dedication to the sport in the hope that they will continue to play the game and, perhaps, one day pull on a Perth Glory shirt or even play for the Matildas in future.

“It’s great to be working with Perth Glory on this important initiative and I thank CEO Peter Filopoulos for his assistance in a project that is fantastic for female football.”

Glory’s W-League coach and club legend Bobby Despotovski said the scholarship players would be expected to make the same level of commitment as the W-League team and would be treated in the same way.

“The NTC girls will benefit massively from being in the W-League training environment, testing themselves alongside some of the best players in the country,” Despotovski said.

“It can only improve them as players and show them the standards they need to meet if they are to take their game to the next level.

“The program provides the girls with a great opportunity to further their careers and it provides us with the opportunity to maintain our club’s commitment to nurturing local WA talent.”

Glory women kick-off their W-League season against last season’s grand final nemesis Melbourne City at nib Stadium tonight (kick-off 7pm).

Filopoulos emphasised the importance of connecting all aspects of female football.

“As a club, we are keenly aware of the need to forge closer links between the Westfield W-League and the Bankwest State League in a bid to improve the standard of both and provide a pathway for our best female players to fulfil their potential,” Filopoulos said.

“We are also hopeful that these closer links will encourage Bankwest State League players and supporters to attend our Westfield W-League games in what promises to be another really exciting season.

“The profile of women’s football in this country is at an all-time high and we feel that programs such the Young Player Scholarships can only help further the growth of the sport.”